Football

/ Preview

Powered by ESPNfc
  • Barcelona v Bayern Munich, Champions League preview

Barca players desperate to inflict revenge on Bayern

ESPN staff
May 1, 2013
Pique confident of historic comeback

Barcelona defender Dani Alves has warned Champions League opponents Bayern Munich that the "moment for revenge" has arrived.

The Spanish giants were on the wrong end of a 4-0 Bayern thumping in the first-leg of the clubs' semi-final tie and will need to be at their very best to reach next month's final. However, only three clubs have ever managed to overturn a four-goal deficit in UEFA competition.

But Alves was refusing to let the score-line - or history - dampen his spirits, believing Barcelona had the capability to record one of the game's greatest comebacks.

"We must be 2-0 up at half-time, that's a minimum requirement" Alves told The Sun. "We'll give it everything. For us this match is like the final itself and we are obliged to give 200%.

"If we score quickly it will help us because that will get Bayern thinking and nerves could set in. We are a team that increases its level of performance in our very worst moments and now we need to be at our very best.

"Bayern might be a big team - but so are we. And if the Germans arrive here relaxed in any way at all that will be a big error. Now is the moment for revenge."

And the Brazilian's call to arms resounded right throughout the squad, with key players Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique all reiterating the defender's desire to gain revenge on their German counterparts.

"The comeback is very complicated. Bayern are a very good team but we'll try," Messi said. "We can reach the final but we need to soar in attack, take all our chances and try to put Bayern under pressure."

Iniesta added: "The defeat in Germany was a pain for us. It will be extremely difficult to pull back a 4-0 lead but, if any team can do it, Barcelona can.

"In Munich we didn't show up. Now we need to keep the ball and to be successful in front of goal. We must be more committed to this match than any other this season. We are ready to go to the limit."

Centre-back Pique said his team-mates needed to play with the exuberance and abandonment of children in order to eradicate the side's flawed first-leg.

"This is a day when we should all become kids again to be as excited and hopeful as they are and lose our commonsense a little bit," The Spanish international said. "That might get us through."

Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova knows his team face a tough task in order to turn the tie around, but is adamant that Messi will prove pivotal if the home side are to advance to Wembley's final.

"We know how important Messi is in this team," Vilanova said. "And even more in front of goal. The better he feels, the more chances we have to go through. This would have to be done between us all, but yes, if Leo is okay, he will have something to say."

Andres Iniesta and Arjen Robben will provide an exciting battle throughout the midfield © PA Photos
Enlarge

One to watch

While all eyes will be on what Lionel Messi can produce to inspire Vilanova's men, Barca will need a cool head to dictate the midfield. Step forward Andres Iniesta; the midfielder has a wealth of Champions League experience to count upon, and the 28-year-old has ability to read the game as one of the world's elite.

Prior to the 2008/09 Champions League final, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson stated that it was Iniesta, not Messi, who was his main concern. The midfielder has enjoyed European glory as well as heartbreak and will know exactly what is required on Wednesday night.

Key battle

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes will field a full strength starting eleven, despite four of his key players being one caution away from suspension in the final.

With that in mind, the likes of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will prove vital outlets for the German champions if they are to hit with potency in the counter-attack, but must also remember their defensive duties in order to repel the expected Barca pressure. They wide pair will be as key in defence as they will be attack.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, one of the players already on a yellow card, will have to be at his best to match Iniesta and Bayern will need to count on the experience and calm nature of Philip Lahm, who will have to do everything in his power to stop Messi and co.

Prediction and bet

Much like Real Madrid in Tuesday night's second-leg with Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona will have to go out all guns blazing. Mourinho's men failed to convert one of their early chances, which eventually proved costly; Barca will be desperate to score the early goal and inflict mental pressure on their German counterparts.

Barca will look to keep the ball, and with a fiery atmosphere expected at the Camp Nou an early goal could well see them go on to achieve an incredible comeback. After losing the away tie at AC Milan earlier in the competition, Barca duly turned it on in the reverse leg and came out 4-0 winners; they are the sort of team to reproduce that form in the most magical of ways.

With that in mind, a repeat 4-0 scoreline in Barca's favour is priced at 28/1 with bet365.

However, if you're itching to part with a little more money then a wincast of Lionel Messi to score first in a Barcelona victory returns 3/1.

Final score: 4-0

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close